tv Weekends With Alex Witt MSNBC February 16, 2013 9:00am-11:00am PST
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behold...the islands of the bahamas. hello, everyone. just about high noon here in the east. 9:00 a.m. out west. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." here are the first five stories trending this hour. spending cuts threat, the deadline looms in washington. passenger payback from that cruise ship nightmare. the massive meteor by the numbers. new revelations about just how powerful the fireball that hit russia was. facebook hacking. and horse meat outrage, details on all those stories throughout the hour. but first -- new word today from president obama. he's taking on the gop on the right fiscal course for the country. he released his weekly radio address and says it's time to finish the job of cutting the deficit by the goal of $4 trillion. >> i disagree with republicans who think we should do that by
making even bigger cuts to things like education and job training or medicare and social security benefits. that would force our senior citizens and working families to bear the burden of deficit reduction while the wealthiest are asked to do nothing more. that won't work. we can't just cut our way to prosperity. >> republicans aren't holding back in their gop address today. criticizing the president over the upcoming threat of sequestration. >> what the president failed to mention was that the sequester was his idea proposed by his administration during the debt limit negotiations in 2011. and now we in the house on behalf of our constituents are calling on the president to join us in replacing his sequester with better, more responsible spending cuts. >> joining me now, correspondent for the garden, anna marie cox and white house reporter for "the washington post", david
kna knackmara. what's going to happen? >> there was a lot of concern about taxes going up. you saw everything go down to the wire. we tipped over the fiscal cliff for a day but then they came to an agreement. this time, this is a big -- sequester is a big issue and could result in a lot of job losses and a lot of damage to the economy. but because it's slower moving, there seems to be less impetus to get a deal done before the march 1st deadline. you're hearing maybe this would all be wrapped up and the continuing spending resolution, if that's not solved by the end of march could result in a government shutdown. there seems to be posturing for negotiating all at once, some time in march.
looks like it's possible we'll go past the sequester. >> didn't the gop agree to the sequester deal? and if the gop wanted to stop it, they could have. how do you assess blaming the president for the sequester? >> i'm not sure that's really working out for them because it's true that both sides agreed to this. and now the president is saying, okay, i agreed to this but let's do something about it. the whole idea of the sequester is it would be such a bad thing that neither party would want to go through with it. we can disagree with the logic of even setting this up. but it is true that if you're the party that's refusing to do the negotiation, i think you're the one that looks bad. the fact that both sides agree to it but now the president is saying, i want to do something and the republicans seem to be digging their heels in, i don't think this helps them with their reputation the congress has. i do think, like david said,
they're probably setting themselves up for what they believe might be a stronger negotiating position going into march. i'm not sure if that's going to be that much stronger given the weakness that they'll have electorally and the weakness they'll have in the polls. >> david, it got kind of ugly and personal this week in the battle over chuck hagel's nomination. let's listen to senator reid reacting to the republicans holding up hagel's nomination. >> but it's shocking that my republican colleagues would leave the nation without a fully empowered secretary of defense. for the sake of our national security, it's time to put aside this political theater. and that's what it is. it's tragic that they've decided to filibuster this qualified nominee. it is really unfortunate. >> can you give us the status of this whole thing and explain where we are in the process? >> as we know, the republicans did not allow a vote to happen. they invoke cloture which means it's on hold.
what's happened now is the congress on a break for a week, chuck hagel's got to wait around. and there's a concern, i think, at the white house and other areas that something could come up. that's what people are looking for. the white house is expressing confidence. president obama said he's confident this will happen. and other administration officials have put the word out that they are confident. but whether it happens or not after congress gets back after the 25th, even if he is komp confirmed, will chuck hagel have trouble managing the pentagon and bring in any reforms he might want to do. it sets up the idea, is this going to be business as usual? it is an unprecedented move to filibuster a defense nominee in the area of national security. first time it's ever happened. but could this be the norm? >> let's talk about senator john mccain who heightened a few issues here the republicans have
with chuck hagel. >> to be honest with you, it goes back to, there's a lot of ill-will towards senator hagel because when he was a republican, he attacked president bush mercilessly, at one point said he was the worst president since herbert hoover, said that the surge was the worst blunder since the vietnam war, which is nonsense. and was very anti-his own party and people. people don't forget that. you can disagree but if you're disagreeable, people don't forget that. >> what do you think is the gop's strategy here and is there a sense at all that they might be creating more bad p.r. for the party because hagel appears to be on his way to being confirmed anyway? you heard david saying that they're just perhaps diminishing his ability to lead to his best ability down the road by all of this. >> i think that is sort of the
conundrum here. the party that's supposedly the defense party that so strongly supports the military, supposedly has been able to use that little piece of p.r. in their favor over all these elections is now eroding their own identity in that way. i personally don't think if he gets confirmed he'll have a problem. but every day that goes by, it weakens the chances of his getting confirmed. if i could just add in, it's something to see senator john mccain talk about the cost of being disagreeable. i covered mccain for a while. i have a lot of respect for him and some genuine affection. but he's not exactly miss congeniality. i think he would say that himself. he thinks if there are certain things you don't worry if people like you, i think that's one of the reasons why in the past he liked hagel. they both have that attitude. whatever it is he believes is sort of interesting to see him use that as a knock against hagel. >> let me tell you me ask both of you.
personal politics or policy, what's going on here? >> i would say with someone like mccain, it's a little of both. i think he takes politics very personally. that's something i like about him. but here you're seeing both. i think for a lot of other republicans who are against the hague hagel nomination, it's optics. they're solidifying their own far right credentials going against hagel. ted cruz has made a name for himself with these stunt politics. >> i think it's a little of each in the sense -- what i find interesting is not only that mccain said he's embarrassed the republican party -- criticism of president bush during that era. but also his past statements about israel. that's a real policy issue. and the third thing is some republicans seem to be also intent on continuing to enact some information from the white house about the handling of benghazi, which is a completely
separate issue that chuck hagel didn't have anything to do with. there's another aspect of politics/policy right there. you have three different things going on, i think, from those who are opposing this nomination. that's a little bit of the troubling part for the white house. >> david nakamura, ana marie cox, thank you so much. we'll get more today on north korea's nuclear weapons program. the white house says pyongyang is preparing for two more nuclear tests this year. josh earnest says, we have warned north korea about the damaging consequences, the further isolation that's caused by their failure to live up to their international obligations each i'm sorry we see one of these nuclear tests it further isolated the country of north korea. joining me now is a man who recently returned from north korea, former new mexico governor, bill richardson, who served as u.s. ambassador to the united nations. thank you so much for joining me. >> thank you, alex. nice to be with you. >> this trip, what was it all
about? how did it come about and what was the mission? >> well, the mission was threefold. one, to send a message to the north koreans not to do any more launches or nuclear tests. secondly, to talk about the advantages of an internet and freedom of information once they join the international community. and third was to try to get the american detainee, kenneth bay, out who's been in prison there. we did get hints from the north koreans that they were going to do this nuclear test because they were upset about the sanctions the united nations had just imposed on them. and we side to them, it makes no sense for you to continue further testing. you're going to be more isolated. your people are hurting. get into the international community. but our message was to the foreign ministry types, their state department. we didn't see the new leader who unfortunately i think is choosing a path of isolation and
weapons over economic development and helping his people. >> you talk about what that goal is, trying to engage a dialogue. you wrote that op ed immediately upon your return, urging north korea to engage in dialogue. how realistic is that when you have them even snubbing china, one of their allies? >> one of the things you learn about north korea is not to be predictable. you don't know what they're going to do next. they don't think the way we do. what i think we need to do is find a new way for the countries in the region and the united states to deal with them. i think first they have to pay. there has to be payback for these tests. that means more sanctions, south korea tightening their belt. but china is the key. and china up till now has not wanted to put the screws on north korea. they could affect their food, their fuel. they have leverage over them.
but i don't think they're ready to exercise it. hopefully this new test will do that. but if that's not the case, i think we need a dialogue with the north korean leadership, we being the six-party country, south korea and the u.s. isolating them has to be part of a policy. but then what next? and i'm hopeful that senator kerry who has a record of negotiation and diplomacy will look at this and say, hey, we need a new approach. these guys are -- we don't know where they're heading, but right now it doesn't look good. but maybe there is hope for this young guy who's studied in switzerland and he seems to be more political than his father. but so far, the signs are not good. >> talking about kim jong-un there. does the u.s. or the u.n. have any sort of political leverage to urge china to do what you are suggesting?
>> we have a relationship with china that it's a competitive relationship. do we have leverage over them to do this? not really. the united nations does not, although china listens to the international community, and ban ki-moon has a lot of respect in asia. but i think we also need here south korea. south korea has most of the stakes in this. they've provided humanitarian aid to north korea. eventually if there's a unification, south korea is key. south korea is upgrading its own military. the new president of south korea, the woman whose father was a very, very hardline dictator, i think has an opportunity after she sends messages of toughness to maybe penetrate the new leader of
north korea and the new regime. but there's real uncertainty as to where they're going to go. and the best thing to do is make them pay for these tests. but then i think we need a new strategy because you don't know a country like them running around, six nuclear weapons, 1 million men in arms, ballistic missiles. i just think we need some creative diplomacy. and i think john kerry, the new secretary of state, can work this out. >> speaking of your phrase there, uncertainty of where they're going to go, as i understand it, these weapons that are being developed, they're designed to fit ballistic missiles that some say could reach the u.s. where do you lie on that? do you think they're a real threat to us here domestically? >> i think they're trying to develop that. i don't think they're quite there yet. i think you need nuclear people, expertise on this.
i'm a diplomat/politician. it is clear, though, i think, alex, that the new leader has chosen to move forward with ballistic missiles, more nuclear weapons, more defense at the expense of the economy of his people. what we said to him is, look, you already launched this missile. it worked after the failure. you already proved your point. now shift towards helping your people, shift towards diplomacy. i thought we had an impact. but obviously they're going in another direction. but it could be part of a strategy they have. the problem is we don't know and the best thing to do to know is to have some diplomacy, have the u.n. in there, have special envoys in there. and i think, for instance, google, eric schmidt, had an enormous impact there. the north koreans loved the idea of an internet, freedom of
exchange. and i think this is the new kind of diplomacy that we need around the world. the internet, information. >> what you said was part two of your three-pronged approach there in what you wanted to effect when you got there. were you able to get past government minders and get a view of how the people are living there or get a sense of how the people reacted to these tests? >> well, we did try to get out -- they do try to control you. we had handlers. we stayed at a guesthouse. but we did go into the subway. we did go into an acrobatic show. we did walk around. we went into stores. we went into universities. we did talk to people. so my sense is that kim jong-un does have support from his people for these tests. that was my very short assessment. i wish i'd had more opportunity.
we didn't get into the rural areas. but at the same time, alex, we never talked to him. i think it would be very valuable for somebody to get a sense of what his thinking is. he's only 30 years old. but on the positive side, he seems to connect better with his people than his father did. however, what he has done with these tests shows that he wants his country to continue to be isolated. he's sort of thumbing his nose at everybody, including china. and then, third, he's continuing to invest in weapons and defense instead of feeding his people and his own economy. but that doesn't mean you just isolate and punish. i think you have to have some creative diplomacy, some ability to influence them in a positive way. maybe it's not just the u.s. let's engage china and russia and south korea and special
envoys and philanthropic groups, not just the government. this is why i consider myself a citizen and trying to do some good. >> we appreciate your efforts. we appreciate your time with us. you make a lot of sense, governor. thank you very much for your time with us. we look forward to seeing you again. >> thank you, alex. west coast headlines are next with something in the air in salt lake city that future mothers are going to want to avoid. we have that warning next. plus, the meteor in russia is being compared to one of the most traumatic world events ever. male announcer ] waiting, waiting... feel like you're growing older... waiting to look younger? don't wait. [ female announcer ] get younger looking skin fast. with new olay regenerist micro-sculpting cream. the next generation with 2 new anti-aging ingredients. it penetrates rapidly. visible wrinkle results start day 1. and you'll see younger looking skin before you even finish one jar. ♪ new olay regenerist. the wait is over.
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it's spurring growing concern about violations of privacy. the faa estimates that once the nation's airspace is open to drone traffic, 10,000 of the aircraft could be in the air by 2020. and the salt lake tribune has this headline, having a baby, wait for good air. it's about utah's poor air quality during the winter months and how it affects pregnancy. new research links air pollution to negative birth outcomes, most often prematurity and low birth weight. one physician says, get out of salt lake city to conceive. counting down to the march 1st deadline without a deal in congress, that is when the sequester kicks in, meaning massive cuts across the board. here's president obama in his weekly address today. >> we can't just cut our way to prosperity. instead i've proposed a balance approach, one that makes responsible reforms to bring down the cost of health care and saves hundreds of billions of dollars by getting rid of tax loopholes and deductions for the well off and well connected.
>> joining me from charlotte, north carolina, is south carolina republican congressman mick mullvaney. we appreciate your time. >> thanks for having me. >> let's get to where you stand on things. you've said you are for the sequester and for letting these automatic spending cuts kick in. there are a lot of economists who say that could be disastrous to the recovery. do you see any downsides to these across-the-board cuts? >> and technically i support the sequester instead of doing no sequester. i'm more in favor of what the house passed twice last year which was this replace this type of across-the-board spending cuts with more efficient, better targeted cuts specifically on things like the military. you're correct, i do support the sequester but i support the idea of a sequester more than anything else, which is we will reduce spending for $1 for every dollar that we raise the debt ceiling back in august 2011. that's what a lot of folks forget, alex, is that this is
the last piece of the august 2011 debt ceiling agreement whereby the president, senate democrats and house republicans said, okay, let's raise the debt ceiling but for every dollar we raise that debt ceiling, we'll lower spending by a dollar. so i am in favor of keeping that agreement. >> but keeping that agreement, if the sequester goes into effect, according to the cbo, it says it will cut u.s. growth in half. it will cost at least 1 million jobs and jobs by extension, consumers, which drive the economy. don't you agree that losing 1 million jobs will be disastrous to the recovery? >> if you turn just to the cbo, the stimulus of three years ago would have solved all of our problems and we would not have had all the difficulties we have today. would have led to tremendous gdp growth. neither does the cbo ever report or take into consideration the impact the huge debt has on the growth of our gdp and job
creation. we can have a philosophical fight about whether or not you can cut your way to prosperity as the president says or spend your way to disaster, as i contend. but that's not the issue here. the issue here is that we agreed 18 months ago for a dollar's worth of spending reductions for every worth of dollar increase. i want to know why the president wants to back out on that deal now. >> how about the spending cuts to the military. $55 billion in defense cuts are scheduled there. are you concerned about a compromise of national security? >> i am, i am. that's why i support what the house did to try to replace that with other spending reductions elsewhere. i think this across-the-board cut essentially amounts to 11% across-the-board cuts to the military spending. the military takes a disproportionate size of these reductions. but i'm not willing to use that as an excuse for breaking our promise. i'd rather us fix that problem
by finding spending reductions elsewhere or others that make more sense within the military and not do this across-the-board 11% cut i'm trying to keep the agreement we approved 18 months ago. >> that said, your state -- you have eight military bases there. there will be constituents of yours for whom this drive to cut spending may cost them their jobs and their livelihood. how do you propose to respond to them when they come to speak with you about that? >> they do come to speak to me about it. it's one of the great things about being in south carolina is that these folks understand the problems that we have as a nation. yes, they want to try and get the spending reductions done more efficiently. they don't want the across-the-board cuts to the defense department. but they know perhaps better than most if we don't solve the deficit and the debt problems, we have mruch bigger difficulties to deal with. i do feel i have the support of the folks back home.
they share my thoughts about doing better and other military reductions, not the across-the-board cut we're facing. but at the end of the day, they recognize the problem. i wish the president shared the same outlook. >> thank you so much for your time. we appreciate it. the meteor that came out of nowhere, new information on just how big this thing was. citracal slow release continuously releases calcium plus d with efficient absorption in one daily dose. citracal slow release.
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was compromised. president obama is working on his golf game this weekend in florida. the president will be getting a lesson from butch harman. the president returns to washington monday. the presidents day holiday. to alabama now and two big new items on that carnival cruise ship nightmare. new video from inside that ship. we'll check out these pictures shot by a passenger showing folks sleeping on the ship's deck and standing in a long line for food. meantime, a woman from texas wasted no time at all filing a lawsuit against the cruise line over these types of conditions. for more on all this, let's go to nbc's mark potter who's in mobile, alabama. what are you learning about this lawsuit? >> reporter: we're at a hotel where crew members from the "triumph" are staying with that ship in port. as to the lawsuit, it has filed in miami, the first lawsuit in this case. and we can likely expect more to come.
meantime, the official investigation as to what happened out there at sea has also begun. the lawsuit appeared the day after the carnival "triumph" was towed into mobile, alabama. with the ship in port now, new pictures have emerged of it crippled by an engine fire that left it without power and working bathrooms and passengers sleeping in makeshift tents on deck. the lawsuit plaintiff, a passenger from texas, accuses carnival cruise lines of breach of maritime contract, negligence, negligent misrepresentation and fraud. he also claims she was injured as a result of the unseaworthy, unsafe, unsanitary and generally despicable conditions. >> there was a failure. we don't know what that failure was at this point in time. but we know that there was a failure and there was a human cause for it. >> reporter: the "triumph" has been moved to a mobile shipyard, facing months of clean-up and repairs as the official incident
investigation also begins. because the ship is registered in the bahamas and the fire occurred in international waters, the bahamian maritime authority is the lead investigator. but experts from the u.s. coast guard and the national transportation safety board are also heavily involved. while the ship was being towed back to shore, the coast guard was on board, interviewing many of the passengers. they'll also debrief the command staff and crew. officials say among the questions to be answered are, what caused the fire, how did the crew react in fighting the fire? were proper procedures followed? were there safety drills? some passengers complained about how they were treated when the fire broke out. >> it was mistake after mistake after mistake. incompetence to the point i've never seen. >> reporter: but many passengers have high praise for the crew members. >> the crew was absolutely fabulous, fantastic. >> they did a good job, exceptionally well, taking care of us.
>> reporter: authorities say the ultimate goal of the investigation is to make sure an incident like this never happens again. as for that first lawsuit, a carnival spokesperson says the company has not yet seen it and therefore cannot yet comment. alex? >> once again, people singing the praises of those crew members. mark potter, thanks so much. "office politics" with bestselling author jonathan alter. did president obama live up to the promises of his first term? dentures are very different to real teeth. they're about 10 times softer and may have surface pores where bacteria can multiply. polident kills 99.99% of odor causing bacteria and helps dissolve stains. that's why i recommend polident. [ male announcer ] cleaner, fresher, brighter every day. this reduced sodium soup says it may help lower cholesterol, how does it work?
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the chicago native shares his memories of being a kid in the bleacher seats at cubs games. but first, i asked him about the president's first-term accomplishments and if he's lived up to the promise. >> he has lived up to a much bigger part of the promise than people recognize. he failed to move to some kind of transformational politics where we all looked beyond red and blue. that was never really that realistic. so anybody who thought that that was the essence of the promise was disappointed. but if you looked to the particulars of what he said in the campaign of 2008 that he would get done and what he's accomplished, his batting average is extraordinarily high. and i don't think that people quite recognize that. they focus on where he failed,
didn't close guantanamo, a couple of other things like that. but his legislative record in his first two years was second only to lyndon johnson in 1965. the most important of which was health care reform, which was something that progressives had been trying to get since the progressive party platform of 1912, 100 years. and there's a number of other things. he promised young people that he would dramatically expand college opportunity and student loans. he fulfilled that promise. he promised that he was going to crack down on predatory lenders. he fulfilled that promise. right on down the line. now, were there bills that disappointed me, like i would have liked to have seen dodd/frank do other things? absolutely.
but as the president himself said, you can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. >> when you were writing this book, what are some of the things that people might find surprising? >> i'm very interested in how obama is not really a politician as we kind of conventionally define that. he doesn't enjoy a lot of the normal parts of politics, the back-slapping. we saw him in the house chamber -- >> state of the union, going in and -- >> yeah. but he inhabits the role. but that's not really what he prefers to be doing. and on the one hand, that has hurt him in washington in the inside game. but i think that that kind of non-political quality about him, the fact that he is in many ways a pretty regular guy who's mentally healthy, that that kind of comes through.
there's an authenticity that comes through. and part of what people in washington don't like about him, that he's missing a schmooze gene, that he doesn't write all the handwritten notes that they want, he doesn't have them over. he plays golf with his staff and his buddies from chicago. >> so he's insular? >> he can be insular in washington. but the way that's viewed in much of the rest of the country is, good, he's not just another politician. so it becomes almost like a double-edged sword. >> what about in terms of chicago, baseball fan, cubbies? >> yes. i grew up five blocks from wrigley field. >> cool. >> and it was daytime baseball. so starting when i was 9 years old, i could go with a friend tho tto the ballpark with no parental supervision. i'd take a lunch and watch
batting practice. and i was raised by bleacher bums in the 1960s at wrigley field. >> you got to throw out the first pitch at wrigley field. what was that like for you? >> it was really scary because there's no do-over. and i knew that. the president threw it in the dirt. the camera didn't show it. but at the all-star game, he threw it in the dirt. i found out from somebody in the cubs organization that something like over 90% of the people who throw out the first pitch throw it in the dirt. so i practiced with my son and my daughter who likes baseball. so i threw what my son charitably called a change-up. but it was really kind of more of a pop-up. but it did get all the way to the plate. >> good job. tomorrow at this time, jonathan shares behind-the-scenes insights he's gathered and why one insiders says the
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in today's strategy talk, an unprecedented move. for the first time ever, the senate has filibustered a president's nominee for secretary of defense. but the white house isn't taking it sitting down. the deputy press secretary said yesterday the delay is a political tactic and the administration is confident chuck hagel will be confirmed. joining me now, msnbc contributor jimmy williams and republican pollster kristin soltis. welcome to you both. thanks for being here. jimmy, let's talk about this nomination. it has not been easy from the start. is the president at all regretting his choice at this point? >> i haven't talked to him about it. but i don't think so. if he had, senator hagel would have withdrawn. the reason this is happening is because chuck hagel bucked his own party.
chuck hagel said to former president bush, i don't agree with what you're doing when it came to the war in iraq. and sitting senators and current senators who weren't there even when hagel was there remember it and they're holding it against him. i think it's a sad, sad state, not only in this country but in the united states senate when a sitting senator cannot stand up and speak out on behalf of his constituents and of his country. he's a decorated war hero. he's imminently qualified and yet he was filibustered on thursday by the republicans. he's a republican and it's a shameful day for the senate. >> kristin, john mccain and lindsey graham say they are holding up the confirmation because they want to get more information on benghazi. what exactly does that have to do with chuck hagel? he was a private citizen at the time. >> what they're doing here is they want some more time to find out things about a number of national security issues. benghazi is not the only thing that's on the table. they're also interested in finding out a little bit more -- there was a speech that then
senator hagel gave -- i don't know if he was a senator at the time. but it was supposedly he said some controversial things about israel. there are a number of questions. a lot of these republican senators are saying, i want to see him go to the floor for an up-or-down vote, just not today. senator reid changed what was originally scheduled as a friday vote to, we're going to vote an hour from now. a lot of republicans said, hold on, we're not ready to do this. and that's why you had this vote. i think ultimately a few days are going to pass. he's going to come up for the up-or-down vote. >> can you give a prediction on how that's going to go? >> depends on if anything interesting comes out over the next week. that's why democrats are nervous. they're concerned over the next few days, new arguments could come to light, new information could come to light that could really scuttle this nomination. >> alex, can i just address that quickly. the fbi's investigated former senator hagel. the speech that kristen is referring to is when he was done as a private citizen. every single defense secretary
nominee prior to him in the modern era has been asked exactly the same questions that he was, testified before the committee and, guess what? not a single time was there a problem before that, whether it was a democrat or republican september in 1989 with john tower. and conservatives brought down t john tower. conservatives are bringing down one of their own. this is very, very troubling to me as a former senate staffer. >> but it's not just a personal thing. republicans disagree with how hagel approaches israel. they disagree with how he approaches size of the military. >> they should vote against him, not filibuster him. >> i think that's ultimately what will happen. they said, look, don't move the game on us, don't move the vote up to this extra day. give us a little extra time to ask these questions. >> let's be honest about why harry reid did that. they were going in recess. if reid held the vote on friday and they got cloture, they would not have had a final vote on him
until saturday or sunday. he was accommodating the republicans and the democrats' senate schedule. >> oh, no. >> let's be very clear. >> what's so wrong with voting after the recess? what's so wrong with -- >> why not vote now? is he qualified now? if he is, he's qualified today, thursday and tomorrow. he's qualified. if he's not qualified, vote against him. >> let's take a listen right now with both of you to john mccain on thursday. kristen, i'll get you to respond right after. >> to be honest with you, it goes back to there's a lot of illwill towards senator hagel because when he was a republican he attacked president bush mercilessly, at one point said he was the worst president since herbert hoover, said that the surge was the worst mrunter since the vietnam war, which is nonsense. and was very anti his own party and own people.
people don't forget that. you can disagree but if you're disagreeable, people don't forget. >> it sounds like john mccain is fighting old fights here. how does that help us with our national security today? >> i don't necessarily think he's fighting old fights. he's pointing out if you're going to appoint someone to be secretary of defense and they're going to try to implement policy that maybe changes the shape of our military and deals heavily with our foreign policy, you need someone that can get the trust of the u.s. senate. if you've had someone that's broken a lot of personal connections and has really upset, anger and inflamed a large portion of the u.s. senate, maybe they're not the best choice for the position. >> jimmy, is there anything about this that says, look, this is a weakness on president obama's part? he's unable to get as a second-term president even his cabinet confirmed without this kind of melee. >> no, i think basically its illustrative of where we are in modern politics.
i expect these kinds of things from the house. i expect the majority to rule over the minority in the house whether that's democrats or the republicans. that's the way the founding fathers set it up. but the senate was always supposed to be a club of 100, a cozy place. when i worked there, you could have disagreements on the floor. but off the camera, you had staffers, including me, running around, making deals, what do you need? i'll give you this if you give me this. this is what my boss needs. that's how the senate used to function. it does not function to a large degree like that. and you have members that attack each other and attack their own, even former senators. that's just never happened before except in 1989 and before that, 1959. this has remarkably sad and pathetic. >> you had former senator kerry who ran against george w. bush in 2004 who is confirmed as secretary of state with almost no problem. it's not just that the senate is out to get obama nominees. it depends on who the nominee is. >> if i recall, i'm happy to go back and look through the old
campaign ads. i'm pretty sure every single sitting senator in 2004 thought that john kerry was un-american. i'm also pretty sure that he didn't say nice things about george bush. that's why he ran against him. >> and they had no problem confirming him as secretary of sta state. >> that's why there's a double standard here. the republicans, you guys eat your own. in the democratic circles, we keep our laundry within our own. give him his nominees and stop filibustering these nominees. it's un-american to do so. >> kristen, you get the last word. you can get back at jimmy for that. >> un-american, those are real fighting words. this was a bunch of senators who said, don't move this vote up on us. give us a couple of more days. i think he's going to get this up-or-down vote.
>> he's still qualified to be secretary of defense. >> can i just ask both of you, when all is said and done, and let's say he gets confirmed, is there going to be any lingering issues as a result of all of the build-up to this? what do you think, kristen? >> i don't think so. i think politically it's going to cause some ill-will within d.c. i don't think voters outside of washington are going to care particularly. it's not going to affect their everyday lives. >> i agree with kristen. >> we're shutting this interview down right now. done! jimmy and kristen, thank you both so much. new reaction from the uncle of os pcar pistorius. if we tooka and reimagined nearly everything in it? gave it greater horsepower and class-leading 38 mpg highway... advanced headlights... and zero gravity seats? yeah, that would be cool.
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legislation taking a personal tone the president kicked off a short vacation in florida but not before taking the gun fight to his adopted home of chicago. kristen welker is with us in palm city, florida. what was so unique about the president's trip to chicago? >> reporter: you know it's interesting. president obama spent the week touting the proposals he had put forth in his state of the union address. friday's speech was the longest and it was personal. president obama went back to his hometown of chicago and called for an end to the violation. >> last year, there were 443 murders with a firearm on the streets of this city. so that's the equivalent of a newtown every four months. >> reporter: mr. obama met with a group of at-risk male teens just before taking the stage. and in an uncharacteristic
moment talked about the similarities between them. >> i had issues, too, when i was their age. i just had an environment that was a little more forgiving. so when i screwed up, the consequences weren't as high as when kids on the south side screw up. >> reporter: the president also took a broader approach to solving the issue of gun violation, arguing the problem is rooted in economic inequalities and broken homes. and on this point, he got personal, too. >> don't get me wrong. as the son of a single mom who gave everything she had to raise me with the help of my grandparents, i turned out okay. but at the same time, i wish i'd had a father who was around and involved. >> reporter: while this isn't the first time the president has talked about being raised by a single mom, political analysts say friday's intimate appeal may be indicative of a more aggressive president obama. now, since the tragedy in newtown, alex, president obama
has been making a more emotional appeal to get stiffer gun legislation passed. that is an uphill battle he's going to have once he leaves his vacation here in florida. another fight he's going to face with congress, of course, over the sequester, those deep spending cuts that are set to go in effect in just two weeks now. >> thank you very much, kristen. joining me now, washington bureau chief for "usa today," susan page and jim warren, washington bureau chief for "the new york daily news." let's go with ladies first. are you surprised the president talked about his father like he did in public? how does that fit into the context of his desire to pass gun control legislation? >> i thought it was remarkable. when i heard that, it struck me, i can't remember the last time he spoke about his father. and, in fact -- a politician like bill clinton says president obama doesn't talk a lot about himself and his personal life and his experiences as a kid growing up.
i thought it was kind of comp compelli compelling. i think that may be the point, that on this issue, the issue of gun control and the issue of what has happened in cities like chicago, just a mile from the president's house, that terrible murder of that -- the girl who had come and performed at his inauguration, this is a politically smart thing to do and it's a personally interesting moment. >> yeah, absolutely. i was actually looking up some stats that i got from one of my writers. in chicago, four people were shot in 90 minutes just after president obama finished his speech and all together, six people were shot in the city from yesterday morning to early this morning, talking about the speech was a state of the union. talk about the problems in chicago alone. but bottom line, everyone says the most that may be able to get done is, according to the latest quinnipiac university poll, moesz americans think universal background checks is the only one that gets passed.
>> even that's not a guaranteed thing, even though nine out of ten americans support this idea. the national rifle association is opposing it. it's not clear it's going to get through. but it is the option that has the best chance of passage. it's one that advocates say would be an important step and an effective one. >> jim, your latest article is about wayne lapierre's state of the union response. here's part of that. >> we will not be duped by the hypocrisy in the white house or the congress who would deny our right to semiautomatic technology and the magazines we need to defend ourselves and our families. >> it would seem, jim, that no measure of public sentiment can way the nra message. obviously they don't care, right? >> well, i saw that speech as playing to his base, conspiratorial, to put it vaguely.
but there are new forces coalescing against them. it's not just president obama who's smart enough and, like susan suggests, knows there will probably be limited gains legislatively in congress. maybe background checks but not much beyond that. but he also knows he's got folks like michael bloomberg getting very serious about going after the nra. in the back yard of that same speech yesterday which was in parts fairly pointed. you've got mayor bloomberg throwing a minimum of $1.5 million into a special congressional race to replace jesse jackson, jr., who pled yesterday. he's spent a ton of money after one single leading candidate, the only white candidate in a 16-person race, former democratic congressman who's supported by the nra. but it underscores, i think, what should be some of the underlying -- at least mild
anxiety the nra should feel right now. >> i want to turn to the threat of the march 1st sequester deadline with both of you. jim, congress is out of town, not back until february 25th. they'll only have four days to hammer out a deal. is anyone taking this seriously? >> i don't think many americans leave the beltway are taking it serious. and it's probably symbolic of the lack of progress on anything in washington and why those approval ratings are in the mid teens. i think it's possible that they probably punt in some way with some last-minute semi deal that sort of puts this off, maybe come up with a mix of budget cuts, maybe even a tax hike or two. politically, it will be interesting to see whether john boehner, who wants to cut a deal on this and other major budget stuff, whether he is willing to go to the house and see a good
many of his members vote against him but get enough democrats in the house and then in the senate to put something through. but i think they're going to muddle through with some mediocre little measure that puts all this off again. >> if no deal is reached to avert the sequester, who has more to gain in that regard politically? who has more to lose? >> i think that both sides now assume that the sequester goes into effect march 1st. when they passed it last year, it was seemed as impossible -- a dire thing, no way it will go into effect. everybody now thinks it's going into effect march 1st. that's going to start a period of three weeks of intensification. the funding for the federal government expires near the end of march. that's a real deadline. there are actual immediate consequences to that. i think at that point there will be an effort to do something to continue funding for the government, maybe till the end of the year. but that sequester, i think you better brace yourself. i think that's coming.
>> susan page and jim warren, you guys will both be coming back soon, i hope. thanks so much. new and remarkable numbers today on that meteor that came out of nowhere and crashed into russia friday. all this as crews are hard at work cleaning up all that damage. the damage left behind is rit astonishing. that was -- it's being called the largest space object to hit the earth in the last 100 years. and space.com's expert is joining me to explain all this. thanks for being here in the studio with me. give me an idea -- put this in perspective in terms of numbers, size, whatever, as to how big this was and the kind of damage that resulted. >> well, we found out last night that it was bigger and just a larger explosion than we even thought at the end of the day. it was about 55 feet across. some say about a bus or so.
it weighed 10,000 tons, which is bigger than what we thought around midday yesterday. and the blast was about 500 kilotons. that's a massive atomic bomb scale -- >> we talk about being greater than what was dropped on hiroshima. >> yes. and it was much greater than that. almost twice as strong as they thought it was. and this is a fairly midsized rock that came out of space. >> so why is it that more people were not killed by this? >> and that's a saving grace, it seems, from this event. you've got 1,000-plus folks hurt and injured from the glass. >> people go to the window -- they're seeing something streak across the sky. it's completely natural and then boom. >> the windows all blow in. that's where the bulk of these injuries came from. the fact that people weren't killed from that or the roofs collapsing. the buildings that were damaged is remarkable.
>> there is an event that happened, a meter crash that happened, i believe 1908, siberia, this is being compared to that. is that a good comparison? >> well, the comparison here, at least thankfully this blast was not as powerful as the blast in 1908. the 1908 also in siberia, an asteroid, 150 feet, three times the size of this one, exploded over that region. flattened something like 80 million trees. that's 800 square miles, just pancaked from an air burst from a meteorite that exploded. when you compare that, it could have been much, much worse if this rock was bigger. >> let's look at what else happened yesterday. as if this was not enough, we had an asteroid passing within about that 17,000 miles of the earth. sounds like a lot but it's not. that, plus, sightings of something above the skies in the
san francisco/northern california area. what is going on? >> it is a really strange coincidence. first of all, astronomers and stargazers around the world were waiting for this other asteroid and they'd been tracking it for a year. they were really excited. it's the closest-ever approach of an asteroid its size. 150 feet wide, half the size of a football field. they were going to ping it with radar, which they did. they tracked it with telescopes. it was an amazing event. and then out of the blue, the meteor over russia occurred, early overnight, we saw the meteor over san francisco. that was witnessed by everyone in the bay area who looked up. it seems like there's a lot out there. there are a lot of space rocks out there. just a coincidence that they're all coming around about this time around. >> if you say so. thank you very much. i appreciate it. there's word today that catholics could see a new pope in place sooner than expected. the vatican is starting the
process to e elect pope bened t benedict's successor earlier than planned. a 15 to 20-day period must be observed after the vacancy. the situation was described to us earlier. >> this is simply a matter of amending the apostolic constitution which the pope can do or assign the authority to the dean of the college of cardinals to do that himself. >> pope benedict is stepping down february 28th. he announced his age and health have forced him into an early resignation. what did senator rand paul say he hoped to accomplish? a tea party leader joins me next. is here to volunteer to help those in need. when a twinge of back pain surprises him. morning starts in high spirits, but there's a growing pain in his lower back. as lines grow longer, his pain continues to linger. but after a long day of helping others, he gets some helpful advice. just two aleve have the strength to keep back pain away all day.
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it's the 2014 congressional races that matter now. but they seem to be pushing the same far-right ultraconservative views that alienated voters in the first place. amy cramer is joining me now from washington, d.c. with a welcome to you on this saturday, we have hardline far-right conservative thinking. it did not get your tea party candidates very far in november. but we seem to be seeing the same script playing out again. has the tea party express learned anything? >> alex, thanks for having me. but we're not hardline far right. we just want washington to live within their means. . that's what this movement is all about. we're all about the fiscal issues and when families and businesses across this country have to balance their budgets and live within their means day in and day out, why is it washington can't do the same? we've already seen our credit rating downgraded once. we don't want to see it happen again. and we certainly don't want to pass off this debt to all future
generations. >> it's not the first time the tea party has had to follow up to the state of the union republican rebuttal. we thought that senator marco rubio was a tea party favorite. but then you had senator rand paul also taking to the stage in the wake of marco rubio. is senator rubio no longer conservative enough. >> no, that's absolutely not true. he is a tea party conservative. but the republican party doesn't represent all of us. we're not an arm of the republican party and they certainly do not speak for us. we are still here. we're engaged. people are working across the country. and though you may not see the big rallies that you saw back in 2009 and 2010, we've matured. i call it tea party 2.0. and we're actually out there working to effect change and we still have a voice. and that's exactly why we asked senator rand paul to give the tea party response to the state of the union. and it was a huge success. everybody has supported what he
said that night. and it's great. it was a historic night to have two tea party conservative senators responding to the president of the united states and his state of the union address. that's historic. so anytime that we can echo what somebody is saying, that's fantastic. but at the end of the day, the republican party doesn't speak for us. >> i want to stick with senator rand paul for a moment. part of what he said during his rebuttal to the rebuttal, if you will, here's a quote, both parties have been guilty of spending too much, of protecting their sacred cows, of backroom deals in which everyone up here wins but every taxpayer loses. so in essence, amy, he was calling out his own party. is the tea party gearing up for war against the gop establishment? you yourself say that the republicans don't speak for you. >> right. and absolutely he was calling out his own party. and this movement started
because people were upset, disenchanted, disillusioned with both political parties but especially the republican party. look, we have some republicans that have gone along with big spending, tax-and-spend policies just as with democrats. and that's not acceptable. when we can call them out, that's what we're here for. we're here to hold their feet to the fire and make them adhere to those conservative principles and policies, on the fiscal issues. that's what we're all about. and my own senator is one of them. he's the perfect example. dick lugar was another one. so it's good that senator rand paul called them out. >> here's the problem. you talk about dick lugar. we had murdoch in there consequently when it came to the general election, they lost. you have donnelly in there now. >> but, alex --
>> would you prefer to have democrats? >> this is the thing. we would rather have a true fiscal conservative that stands on principle and does not sway than to have a republican that votes with the democrats more than they do with the conservatives. because then they water down the brand. but at the end of the day, we don't even need to focus on party. we need to focus on the issues, the issues of where we are economically. and that's why the tea party movement's been so successful. not every social issue touches every single person out there. but every person in this country is affected by the economy and jobs, jobs, jobs. and that's what we're going to remain focused on and we're going to elect great conservatives, like senator ted cruz, to go to washington to rein in this out-of-control spending and to shrink the side of the federal government because they're the problem. they're not the answer. >> and i get what your message is. how do you explain 2012?
because you lost. >> you know what? this is the thing. presidential politics changes everything. and the gop drove the messaging in 2012. in 2010 when the tea party movement drove the messaging, we won huge because we were all about the fiscal issues. 2012 when gop drove the messaging, we lost. it wasn't just tea party candidates that lost. it was moderates, too. so we need to go back to our foundation of fiscal responsibility, limited government, free markets and we need to elect fiscal conservatives and remain focused on those issues. >> quickly, do you think 2014 is going to be a repeat of 2010? >> i do think it will be. and we're out here working hard. you saw what happened in wisconsin with the defeat of the recall. and ted cruz defeated the establishment candidate. we're going to be victorious in 2014, i have no doubt. >> tea party express chair amy kremer, thank you. >> thank you.
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now to the big money headlines. no carnival for cruise line passengers, the oracle sees a future in ketchup and sour apple? that cruise on the carnival "triumph" turned into a real nightmare for the passengers. can this company survive? >> analysts are saying that, yes, this company is going to survive but short term, it's going to take a hit. the stock took a 3.7% hit over the last week. and in the last couple of years, carnival's seen issues like this before. for example, in 2010, they had another ship adrift in the pacific for three days. they had to dock it back in san
diego. and then of course when the ship ran aground off the coast of italy, the "costa concordia," that ended tragically. 32 people passed away. you saw the stock dive a little bit there. what's going to save this company long term is it had all the passengers on that ship sign a 15-page release saying they aren't necessarily liable for what's going to happen on that ship. that's going to protect them. they're going to come out smelling like roses on this one. >> warren buffett made that mega deal to acquire heinz. what made this deal so appealing and profitable? >> he certainly does know what the secret is in that sauce. he's a value investor. what that means is that he looks at companies with very solid balance sheets and not a lot of debt on those balance sheets. he was saying on cnbc a couple of days ago that heinz was something that really fits well into his berkshire-hathaway portfolio. he invests in companies like
procter & gamble, dairy queen. the statement this is going to fit in well, another fun fact about warren buffett, he's been eyeing heinz as a takeover possibility for almost 20 years. >> that's a long time. finally got it. apple really dropped it prices of the macbook pro and the air as well. is it because of the ipad hurting the laptop business? >> the takeaway number here is 14 million. that is how many ipads apple has sold in the fourth quarter of 2012. compare that to the 4.1 million macbook that is they sold in the last quarter. they are definitely taking a hit to that product launch. reducing that price on those macbooks is in some ways trying to reinvigorate that customer and that interest in their macbooks and hopefully making that customer buy that product. at one point, those macbooks were the most interesting, most popular, apart from the iphone, product that they have. so they're trying to
reinvigorate and regenerate that interest. >> maybe the dropped price will help it out. thank you. straight ahead, new reaction from a family member of blade runner oscar pistorius on how he's coping today charged with the murder of his beautiful girlfriend. citracal slow release continuously releases calcium plus d with efficient absorption in one daily dose. citracal slow release.
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[ slap! slap! slap! slap! ] ow! ow! [ male announcer ] your favorite foods fighting you? fight back fast with tums. calcium-rich tums starts working so fast you'll forget you had heartburn. ♪ tum tum tum tum tums welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." new today, the family of oscar pistorius is defending the south african olympic and paralympic star against charges of murder. he appeared in court on friday and cried throughout the proceeding. he's accused of shooting and killing his girlfriend. in a new interview a short time ago, pistorius' uncle says the runner is, quote, numb and in shock. michelle is in south africa with more. hello to you. >> reporter: oscar pistorius is being held here at a police station instead of a prison. is that special treatment? well, yeah. a magistrate at his first appearance brought it up and
said, would so-and-so in this other case be allowed to do that? but prosecutors didn't have a problem with it. police say pistorius is doing okay. he's been reading. he just had a visit from his legal team and a group that appeared to be members of his family. they'll be here until his bond hearing tuesday. each side will argue why he should and should not be set free and that will likely shed much more light on what exactly investigators think happened at that house. pistorius' gated home early valentine's day morning that ended in the shooting of his girlfriend, model reeva steenkamp. one legal expert says he thinks it's likely pistorius will be set free, even though prosecutors are calling this premeditated murder because he said ultimately what it does boil down to is whether or not pistorius is perceived as dangerous and a flight risk. the tuesday bond hearing will be the same day as steenkamp's funeral. tonight, we'll air the first episode of the reality show she starred in.
alex? >> michelle, thank you so much for that. now to washington. in his weekly address today, president obama doubled down on his opposition to cutting entitlements as the deadline for sequestration draws here. >> i disagree with republicans who think we should do that by making even bigger cuts to things like education and job training. or medicare and social security benefits. that would force our senior citizens and working families to bear the burden of deficit reduction while the wealthiest are asked to do nothing more. that won't work. we can't just cut our way to prosperity. >> joining me now, democratic congressman adam schiff, member of the house appropriations committee. nice to see you again. >> good to see you, thank you. >> we have less than two weeks until the sequester goes into effect. do you think a deal, reached? >> unfortunately i don't think so. i think in the house of representatives in particular, the gop leadership has reached the conclusion that they want
the sequester to go into effect, at least temporarily. it's a way of managing their own members. they have a deep, internal divide between the tea party republicans and the more mainstream republicans. and i think they feel they need to do this, much as they felt they had to go over the fiscal cliff, at least for a day or so, to say that they weren't raising taxes. so i think we're seeing the same thing played out here. but frankly it's going to be a disaster for the country. if the sequester stays in effect for any lengthy period of time, it could mean the loss of 750,000 jobs. and it is a purely manmade economic disaster. so i would love to say we can avoid it and in fact we can. but i think the gop is determined to at least let it go into effect for some period of time. >> you know, the democrats' proposal that was announced this week, it calls for $110 billion package, half of which is tax increases. mitch mcconnell called it a total waste of time. was this a serious offer? >> it is a serious offer. and it's a shame that the senate leader would say or the senate
republican leader would say it's a waste of time to propose something that's half and half, which i think the american people think thees pretty fair. when you're in a debate and have a difference, you try to split the divide down the middle. that's what the president has offered and senate democrats have offered, house democrats have done much of the same thing. and unfortunately we're seeing an opposition that says, our way or the highway. in this case, the sequester is that highway. >> but this proposal puts off the budget cuts just until next january. won't that put us right back where we are right now? why can't we get an actual solution instead of that dreaded -- and the phrase i'm tired of hearing of -- kicking the can down the road? >> we should be able to get a long-term deal. it's not rocket science. we have about the right argument target in terms of our deficit reduction. we're about halfway there. we've done about $1.7 trillion in cuts, about $600 billion or
$700 billion in revenue increases. the second half is proving very difficult. i think part of the problem is this internal divide in the house, we don't really have a negotiating partner because they're not of one mind. but the president is doing what he does best, which is go out above the heads of the congress, out to the american people, calling for some reasonable resolution that represents fairness and shared sacrifice. it's what the american people voted for. and unfortunately i think we're going to have to have this sequester go into effect so the republicans can manage their own members and expectations before we get to yes. and like you said, the yes at that is likely to be a short-term yes. but we should bring about a long-term deal. i hope we can. there's no reason why we shouldn't. and i think our economy is poised to really recover if we just get out of the way. part of getting out of the way is this long-term deal you mentioned. >> so that means, then, that you
think it's probably going to happen, we're going to go to the sequester? that means that you and likeminded democrats of which you seem to be much more coalesced around one concept and your party's platform on this as opposed to to the splintered-up gop. are you willing to go into sequester to stay to your party's ideals? >> we don't have much of a choice. i think the gop in the house is not willing to share any sacrifice or make a balanced deal. so we don't have a whole lot of choice. i think we're subject to this internal divide among the gop. but what i do think is going to happen is a sequester will go into effect. and then three weeks later when we've got to resolve the potential shutdown of the government, i think it will be wrapped in with a resolution of the sequester but it will probably be only a resolution of both issues until the end of the year. so it will set up another fiscal cliff at the end of the year. again, not the way to do business, not the way that you can keep the trains running on
time. but it may be the best that we can hope for with the crowd that's currently running the house. >> one more detail here. part of this new proposal by the democrats includes closing some tax loopholes, which is what republicans had once supported. why have they changed now? >> well, a lot of what used to be the gop orthodoxy is now anathema to that party and represents the rightward drift of the party. remember, one of the central issues in the presidential debate some time ago was the idea of a mandate to buy private health insurance. that was a gop idea. and there are many others in a long series -- the president alluded to one of them in the state of union in terms of climate change, pointing to a john mccain idea. but what had been fairly mainstream in the gop now with the tea party is considered heresy. unfortunately it's holding the country hostage and holding our economy hostage. until the voters speak a little more clearly, which they'll have an opportunity to do again in
another two years, we may be stuck with this kind of tea party quagmire we're in. >> adam schiff, good to see you as always. let's get a check with craig on what he's got in the next three hours. that's awesome. >> thank you very much, alex. a jam-packed show for you. general wesley clark will be here to talking about the hague l haggling in washington. how that may be playing out overseas. and sonya song will talk about her efforts to empower young people away from guns and violation. and i'll go to a town this week where owning a gun in this town is the law. that's coming up. >> that sounds interesting. >> yeah. >> we'll take a trip. hagel haggling, i like that. next with the big three, will president obama be able to cash in his political capital for a minimum wage hike?
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it's time for the big three. today's topics, it's getting personal, $9 an hour, and best week, worst week. republican strategist and msnbc contributoor susan del percio, patricia murphy and morris reid. hello to the three of you. susan, let's go to the hold-up of chuck hagel's nomination ff secretary of defense nomination. let's listen to harry reid's reaction. >> it's shocking that my republican colleagues would leave the nation without a fully empowered secretary of defense. for the sake of our national security, it's time to put aside this political theater and that's ha it is. it's tragic that they've tided to filibuster this qualified nominee. >> what's your reaction to the senator? and is this bad p.r. for the gop because hagel will eventually gets confirmed anyway. >> it's unfortunate for a whole
host of reasons. it is bad p.r. for the republicans. there's no win. he's going to get confirmed. to have it drag on and have bad p.r. doesn't make much sense. but more importantly, for the institution, right now, we're so divided -- the president did win. he deserves his nomination unless there's something so summitly wro ll lly -- fundamen that he shouldn't be confirmed. it was a problem for the gop. i'm not sure why they did it. >> benghazi, the timing, i don't understand because chuck hagel was a private citizen when all that was going on. >> yeah. it goes to the bigger problem that we have. also the democrat-controlled senate could have done something on filibustering. this just highlights that. that they've chosen not to do. it goes to the dysfunction of the senate as a whole. >> so, patricia, we had senator john mccain sounding off this week, describing all the problems republicans have with hagel. here that is.
>> to be honest with you, neil, it goes back to there's a lot of ill-will towards senator hagel because when he was a republican, he attacked president bush mercilessly, at one point says he was the worst president since herbert hoover, said that the surge was the worst blunder since the vietnam war, which is nonsense. and was very anti his own party and people. people don't forget that. you can disagree but if you're disagreeable, then people don't forget that. >> patricia, it seems like john mccain is reaching way out there. have you ever heard of a nominee getting nominee getting blasted like this for really what appears to be personal? attacking his policy with president bush and what he said way back when? it just seems so unique, this situation. >> it's very unique. and chuck hagel is unique.
he is obviously a former republican senator. but chuck hagel burned a lot of bridges and made a lot of enemies during his time -- >> clearly. >> we don't hear a lot about that. for mccain, chuck hagel came out against mccain's plan for the surge. mccain took that so personally and he's not the only diva in the senate, republican or democrat. i think that chuck hagel had he had better relationships within his own party and had he performed better at his own hearing, he's given his enemies all the ammunition they need to try and stop him. i'm not sure he's going to get this confirmation. the republicans have said, we'll vote to let him through if nothing else comes up in the next ten days. i guarantee a lot of people are digging through chuck hagel's background for the next ten days. >> morris, how do democrats play this? >> first of all, there's nothing unique about politicians being self-centered and playing small ball. this goes back to the fact that he did not endorse him and tin
the full extent mccain wanted. the republicans need to take a high road. if they choose to derail a nominee who's a qualified person to be secretary of defense who, by the way, served this country honorabl honorably, it is shocking. it's funny to hear democrats or the party in power to say shocking. they're using that to their own advantage. but this is just mind-boggling that they are doing this. it doesn't help their brand, doesn't sell their message. and it continues to put them in a position where they're out of touch with the american people. >> morris, do you think something will come up? patricia says they're digging. could something come up to derail the nomination? >> lyndon b. johnson used to say -- you can find anything you want. you can find anything you want in anybody's background if you dig hard enough. there will be something that
will come up. but at the end of the day, the president won. you've already taken out susan rice. you've had a victory, john mccain. let the person get his person in so we can move the country forward. >> that's where you are, nba all-star game. i was thinking, where is he? thank you for telling us that. >> you thought i was in paris again. >> yeah, i confused that basketball with the eiffel tower. right. patricia, let's turn to our next topic. $9 an hour with the president calling for the minimum wage to be increased. what are the chances of this actually happening? >> the chances of it happening by itself are zero. this is a republican house. republicans have come out almost uniformly and said they're against this. they usually are against it. they say it's just another burden for businesses to have to deal with, particularly in a recession. but i think that if deal with, particularly in a recession but if it's a part of a larger package, if it's part of a large tax reform package, if there are even tax cuts for republicans to get happy about, they might get on board with this the last time the minimum wage was raised it was part of a larger package and there were small business tax cuts in there.
without more sweeteners for republicans this is not going to happen. >> susan, some republicans have come out against this certainly but if you raise the minimum wage, what would people spend more and doesn't that lead to economic growth? >> there's still the same pile of money there that employers especially small businesses have. if you make them pay more for employees, they will have less employees. it's the same amount of money. it's not as if businesses are booming so that's where it's really going to hurt, other people who are looking for work or people who have their hours reduced as a result. i agree completely with patricia, definitely if it does pass it will be part of a bigger package because frankly it's one of the issues easy to get popular support for and hard to run from but economically it's a disaster for our economy, it's a disaster for small businesses and a disaster for young people whose summer jobs are based on getting that minimum wage job and they're not going to be many of them as a result. >> so -- >> hey, i don't know where susan
has been, but looks like businesses are booming in this country if you look at where the dow is and the m&a activity going on. >> you speak to small businesses and ask them how they're doing right now and see what the result is. they are not doing well. >> i talk to them every day. before i came on air i talked to a business owner who is running this outfit here and business is booming for her. >> morris, i will tip my hat to you. you are the only republican or the only democrat that i have come across who says business is booming in the united states and the economy is doing great. so hats off to you. >> well let me tell you, look at the dow. look at the dow, it was up at record highs. look at the m&a activity going on in this country. it may not be republicans, it might be democrats but somebody's making money here. >> yeah, well you have a point. some people are making money but do you think $9 an hour is going to really help those minimum wage folks, morris? that will let them to what
$18,000, $19,000 a year, that is pretty far below the poverty line for a family of four. >> absolutely, we need to do a better job of getting jobs, need to retrain our workers and get ready for the 21st century. republicans fought for the head fake with obama. he is pulling on a lot of things they almost are going to say uniformly no. they have to find something to say yes to this president so stop falling for the head fake and find something to work with this guy. sit tight, up next the big three dare to pick the best and worst of the week. what we need are people prepared for the careers of our new economy. by 2025 we could have 20 million jobs without enough college graduates to fill them. that's why at devry university, we're teaming up with companies like cisco to help make sure everyone's is ready with the know how we need for a new tomorrow. [ male announcer ] make sure america's ready. make sure you're ready. at devry.edu. ♪
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now the big three's best week/worst week. patricia first, what are your picks? >> oh, my worst week unfortunately is for the pentagon. they not only saw chuck hagel filibustered by the senate, they also have this sequester coming up. half i want to say half a trillion dollars worth of cuts coming from the pentagon and they are in no way able to absorb that. they've already made lots and lots of cuts.
i think congress is asking them to fight a war and not giving them the resources they need to do it. on the plus side my winner is poland springs, they got the best product placement of all-time, thanks to marco rubio so he didn't have a great night but i think poland springs had a great night. >> you have a point. susan, yours? >> the best week the no labels group because mostly they were able to get 40 people, democrats and republicans in congress to agree to fixing a problem, not fighting, and that's an accomplishment these days, just to even be able to get someone to wear the same pin. the worst week was the u.s. senate. i think that what we saw with the confirmation hearing and a lot of things it showed it's no longer the house it used to be. >> morris, yours? >> hi, well i think that for me the loser is clearly the blade runner, a guy who was a hero, we don't know what happened but certainly there's a problem for him and he won't be making $5 million a year anymore but my winner is, i know you think i was going to say houston because
of the all-star game, alex. >> i totally did! >> it's really m&a activity. the m&a activity i think will be a catalyst to get the economy turning a corner. i think there will be a lot of people including susan and republicans making money. >> my big three are all all-stars to me. thank you very much. i'll see you back here tomorrow at noon eastern. up next craig melvin, sit down, craig, you're up next. [ lisa ] my name's lisa, and chantix helped me quit. i honestly loved smoking, and i honestly didn't think i would ever quit. [ male announcer ] along with support,